Joint Damage

Joint damage wrist

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of joint damage

Degeneration of musculoskeletal structures is a common occurrence at the onset of old age. They lead to numerous complications and may even cause chronic disability. A common disorder belonging to the above category is “joint damage”. The epidemiological studies by the Arthritis Foundation, United States suggest that nearly 40.9% of the adult population with diabetes will suffer from some form of joint disease. Now, joint damage and diseases are common in young adults, teens and small children. Numerous factors are responsible for these incidences. At present, the joint damage has become a major global health burden. It affects performance and productivity in different spheres.

 

What is joint damage?

Joint damage fractureJoint damage is a collective term for a group of conditions which cause degeneration and damage of the bones, joints, and cartilages, leading to temporary or permanent disability.

Mechanical injury, loss of mineral content of bones or structural deformities may precipitate this condition.

In a majority of the cases, joint damage is manifested as pain, inflammation, swelling, and in worst cases, immobility of the vital joints in the body.

At present, joint damage is one of the primary causes of disability in old people. Statistics show that joint damage affects people of all age groups, genders and ethnic groups worldwide.

 

What causes joint damage?

Joint damage is caused by multiple environmental, physiological and genetic factors. The commonly analyzed causes are described below-

  • Natural degeneration of joints and cartilages with age
  • Degeneration of synovial fluid present in the joints (knee joints), leading to increased friction
  • Erosion of cartilage tissues
  • Bones become very porous (cause: mineral loss)
  • Infection and inflammation of cartilage tissues
  • Autoimmune diseases (defects in Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase 22 gene) that affect the synovium tissues
  • Hormonal fluctuations after menopause
  • Joint damage wristMechanical injury
  • Infections or diseases of the joints
  • Deficiency of vitamins (Vitamin C and D) and essential micronutrients in the regular diet
  • Rigorous physical activities
  • Stress and strain on muscles, bones, and joints (common in people who lift loads or stand for long hours. Eg: Factory workers)
  • A few food items like processed meat, refined carbohydrates, and artificial fats (cause joint inflammation and pain)
  • History of joint diseases in the family
  • Obesity and overweight conditions (exert pressure on knee and ankles)
  • Over-the-counter drugs like antihistamines, corticosteroids, tranquilizers, diuretics etc
  • Incorrect body postures
  • Accidental bending or twisting (may cause injury to the meniscus, ligament or tendons)
  • Accumulation of waste products (Eg: uric acid) in the body
  • Chemicals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, benzene or mercury (induce toxicity)
  • Low intake of fluids
  • Defective metabolism
  • Congenital defects

 

What are the warning signs of joint damage?

Joint damage is easily recognized through some common symptoms. These are described below-

  • Pain and inflammation in joints
  • Joints become stiff and immobile in the morning
  • Redness, warmth and increased tenderness of affected joints
  • Bones that stick at different locations form bulges
  • The occurrence of sudden shooting pain and burning sensation in and around the joints
  • Pain may radiate from joints to the nearby areas like pelvic region, lower back or lower extremities
  • Bone deformities
  • Peeled off whitish flakes from the skin covering affected joints
  • Difficulty performing normal activities like walking, running, climbing stairs etc
  • Restricted motion of joints
  • Fever and general body weakness
  • Body pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • The height of a person reduces (erosion of joints in the vertebra forms humps and affects the height)
  • Joint movements lead to sounds at the joints
  • Throbbing pain in joints and adjoining muscles after some physical activity or normal movements
  • Joint pain at night disturbs sleep
  • The patient cannot restore proper postures

 

What are the different types of joint damage?

Joint damage xrayAs a person grows old, the joints degenerate. This predisposes the body to several joint diseases. These are as follows

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most severe type of joint damage. Here the joints, muscles and the nearby tissues erode and degenerate. Pain and inflammation of joints occur in this disease. The bones may protrude at odd locations. This may lead to deformed bones. The patients may experience immobility at the very end stage of the disease.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: It is a type of joint damage wherein inflammation of the linings of the joints occurs. This can cause bone displacement and bone erosion. This condition severely affects the joints of the cervical spine, hands, feet, and knees.
  • Osteoporosis: In this type of joint damage, essential minerals are lost from the bones. Most of the bones become brittle and porous. Here, the rate of bone degradation (resorption) exceeds the rate of bone formation.
  • Paget’s disease: It is a type of metabolic bone disease. Here the bones get replaced by fibrous tissues. This causes joint damage.
  • Osteomalacia: Osteomalacia is a type of joint damage in which the bones become very soft. Deficiency of Vitamin D or calcium in the body triggers this condition.
  • Osteomyelitis: In this disease, bacteria infect the bones and bone marrow.
  • Gout: Gout is a joint disease in which excess waste products build up in the body. The most common waste product is “uric acid crystals”. Acute joint pain and inflammation occurs in this condition.
  • Degenerative disc disease: It is a kind of joint damage caused by erosion and dislocation of vertebral discs.

 

What diagnostic tests are necessary?

A few diagnostic tests are essential to detect the exact cause of joint damage-

  • X-rays (to look for damage of joints or cartilages)
  • Synovial fluid analysis (to detect presence of crystals)
  • MRI scan (to detect injuries in joints and cartilages)
  • CT scan
  • Digital radiography

 

Treatment and prevention

Osteoarthritis 

Treatment 

  • Medications to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation are prescribed.An antidepressant is prescribed to those with osteoarthritis to help relieve pain.
  • Individual therapies such as physiotherapy can help in strengthening muscles and increasing mobility in the joints.
  • Ways to reduce stress in the patient’s lifestyle will be taught during occupational therapy. Here, the patients are taught ways to help make their day-to-day activities easier by reducing stress levels and pain.
  • Certain exercises can help in stretching the muscles and increase mobility. Tai chi and yoga can help in reducing stress levels and increasing muscle strength.
  • In case other treatment methods do not work, surgery is done to help realign the joints or replace the joints depending on the severity of osteoarthritis.

Prevention 

  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Do not indulge in first or second-hand smoking.
  • Maintain a clean and healthy diet.
  • Get a regular checkup done if you are above the age of 50 years.

Osteoporosis 

Treatment 

  • In cases, if the risk of fracture is low, doctors recommend that the patient gets a good amount of exercise to help maintain mobility and flexibility. They also look at ways in which they can help ease the symptoms of the conditions.
  • Medications to help retain the bone density are prescribed to reduce pain.
  • Certain home therapies such as taking estrogen supplements help in increasing bone density.

Prevention 

  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Get sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.

Gout 

Treatment 

  • Medications to help reduce the attacks of gout are prescribed. These medications may start off on a higher dosage, but over time the dosage of the medications are reduced.
  • Medications that can help relieve pain and inflammation are prescribed to those with gout. These medications can be consumed orally or injected into the joints.

Prevention 

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Maintain a clean and healthy diet.

Paget disease 

Treatment 

  • If the symptoms of Paget’s disease are not as severe, treatment will not be necessary. In case, the symptoms increase, treatment options will be considered.
  • Medications that are prescribed to osteoporosis patients will be prescribed to those who have been diagnosed with Paget’s disease. These medications help in reducing the symptoms and increase bone density.
  • In rare cases, surgery may be required to help fractures heal, replace damaged joints, realigning joints and reducing the pressure on the knees.

Prevention 

  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Ensure that you do not fall.

Facts

  • In the USA, 10% of men and 13% of women will develop osteoarthritis by the age of 60.
  • Not every joint pain can be categorized as arthritis.

Facts

  • 2 million people have gout in the United States.
  • Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis or ‘wear and tear’ arthritis. It is the most common type of arthritis.

Facts

  • The prevalence of osteoarthritis is high due to an increasing aging population and high levels of obesity.

Related Conditions

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle; doing so can reduce the chances of joint damage.
  • Consume clean and healthy foods. Practicing this habit can go a long way in not only reducing joint pains and damage but also avoiding other health conditions.
  • Exercise regularly, maintaining this habit can help keep the joints active and reduce pain.
Don'ts
  • Consume alcohol, doing so can increase bone degeneration.
  • Indulge in smoking, this habit can lead to degeneration of spinal disks and contribute to osteoarthritis.
  • Wear shoes that may be tight or too high. Doing so can increase pain and discomfort.

 

 

 

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Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Anti-CCP Test – Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Anti-ccp or ACCP test is a blood test that is primarily employed to diagnose the onset of rheumatoid…
cardioliin antibody iga
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) – IgA test Cardiolipins are phospholipids that are constituents of the platelets and the cell membranes. The IgA test detects the…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
pilonidal sinus
Pilonidal sinus Pilonidal sinus is more common in young men than women. Learn about treatment options, surgical management, risks, and…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
Ear pain model
Easy and safe tips for ear wax removal you can do at home Cerumen impaction generally occurs when an external object like cotton swabs are used to remove the ear wax.…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
CBC blood test
CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test refers to the test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
PROGESTERONE_test
Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
Bone marrow aspiration Bone marrow aspiration is a process where a sample of the bone marrow is withdrawn from the bone…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Sushi: health benefits and recipes Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish prepared with vinegared rice served with fish (often raw), vegetables, and other…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…